Technology changes quickly: in 2005, the typical 40-inch flat screen TV would’ve cost you in excess of $1,500. Today, 10 years later, you can purchase a 40-inch flat screen TV for less than $230.
The same has occurred with hearing aids, although it’s more likely to escape our notice. We notice that TVs become bigger, better, and cheaper, but we’re blind to the enhancements in hearing aids because we’re not bombarded with advertising and giant store displays.
Nonetheless, hearing aids, together with all other consumer electronics, have improved drastically over the past 10 years. If analog hearing aids are like the cumbersome 15-inch-tube-TVs of the past, today’s digital hearing aids are like the compact 65-inch-Ultra-High-Definition TVs of the present.
Here’s what makes modern hearing aids better, beginning with the technology that makes it all achievable.
Hearing aids, like all electronics, have benefited from the digital revolution. Hearing aids have evolved into, in a way, miniaturized computers, with all of the programming versatility you’d expect from a contemporary computer.
The outcome is a gadget that is small, light-weight, energy-efficient, and proficient at manipulating information—information being, in the example of a hearing aid, sound.
So how do modern-day hearing aids manipulate sound? Let’s use an analogy: envision inbound sound as incoming mail and the digital hearing aid as a mailroom.
As mail is received, it’s identified, labeled, stored, and consequently delivered to the appropriate recipients. In a similar manner, digital hearing aids can take incoming sound and can label specific frequencies to be delivered to the amplifier. Speech sounds, for example, can be tagged as important and sent to the speaker for amplification. Similarly, background noise can be labeled as “undeliverable” and returned.
Analog hearing aids lacked this “mailroom” functionality. Incoming sound was delivered all at one time—like if the mail clerk were to give you everyone’s mail and you had to sift through the clutter yourself to find your own. Speech simply gets lost in the mix with background noise, and you have to work tirelessly to dig it out.
Hearing Aid Advanced Features
Digital manipulation of information is the secret to everything a modern hearing aid can do. Here are some of the state-of-the-art features associated with modern hearing aids that digital technology makes possible:
- Speech recognition – digital hearing aids can recognize and enhance speech with digital processing and directional microphones.
- Background noise suppression – background noise is a lower frequency sound, which the hearing aid can recognize and suppress.
- Clearer phone calls – telecoil technology enhances the signal from your phone, resulting in clear sound without interference.
- Wireless streaming – hearing aids with Bluetooth technology can link to devices wirelessly, so you can stream music, phone calls, and TV programs straight to your hearing aids.
- Wireless control – compatible hearing aids can be controlled with smart phones and digital watches, so you can effortlessly and inconspicuously adjust volume and settings.
Test Out Your New Digital Hearing Aids
As you have seen, digital hearing aids are impressive pieces of modern technology. That’s why nearly all cases of hearing loss can now be efficiently treated, and why most people are pleased with the overall performance of their hearing aids.
If you’d like to test out this new technology for yourself, give us a call and inquire about our hearing aid trial period.